Well, I've had a problem. Last year we canned up all kinds of stuff~and so NOW we are consuming it with gusto...that is until I saw a blackish corrosion in the underside of my lid, well sealed jar of stewed tomatoes! YIKES! Is it going to KILL US?? Rather than take a chance, we pitched the tomatoes and lost some of our hard work, but until I could get a hold of a University Extension Agent for some authoratative info, we just weren't going to take a risk.
You know, home canning is a wonderful strategy for good solid food preservation and nutrition, BUT if you have to pitch out some of it, one might just wonder IF it's worth all the effort!
Well, after getting in touch, I've found that my tomatoes are FINE~oh YES! THEY ARE!! and so tastey, but you gotta know that now that I've had such a scare, SisterT has been busy updating all my info on canning to my trusty notebook so this summer when we're in full harvest/canning mode we will be all geared up with the info we need.
What about you? Are you planning your GARDEN HARVEST already by getting your garden in and working on your knowledge base or supplies?
Here's some ideas:
NOW IS the time to collect up those jars. I'm finding loads at thrift stores for cheap and also on give a way sites like FreeCycle. (FreeCycle http://www.freecycle.org/ (you can search this site for your local group!) is a yahoo group that is in many locations for gifting unwanted items on the FREE!) or other sources like a friend who found 4 boxes on the curb the other day~GOTTA LOVE curbshopping! LOL...
HOW does your GARDEN GROW?? Are you planning one NOW?? In many locations, it's THAT time of year to begin tilling and mulching the soil~and even if you aren't a FARMER BROWN type, you can get some 5 gallon buckets and grow a tomato bush or two..what about some peppers OR a green bean bush OR two?? YUM!! There's NOTHING like home grown produce straight to the pot!
BEGIN researching the HOW on canning! There are supplies you need and methods to follow...HOW overwhelming it will be IF you aren't prepared when your harvest is coming in and you NEED to can in short order~LEARN IT NOW! Practice~get together with someone who KNOWS what they're doing...or go help that person do THEIRS so that you can get their advice on yours! Collect info in a notebook and I recommend the Ball http://www.freshpreserving.com/home.aspx and Univ of GA site http://nchfp.uga.edu/questions/FAQ_canning.html#13 ~ck out your University Extension Office http://foodsafety.osu.edu/ask-the-pros/consumers/ohioline/food-preservation.php as well~Home Economists are usually in each state~it's amazing the wealth of information they have!
FIGURE OUT what you want to eat. THIS IS our biggie this year b/c last year we canned up over 100 qts of tomatoes and honest we haven't eaten that many this year~sooo I will can less, but will can some...but thinking about our garden~WHAT do we want to eat?? I'm loving FRESH FRESH FRESH green beans pan fried in olive oil and garlic~just tender crispy~ooohhla la! AMAZING flavor with just a little CRUNCH! But in the past, it wouldn't have done to eat them THAT way, so we like them canned too~home canned! We even made dilled greenbeans~oh if you haven't tried 'em...but they are soo sosoo good! They're called Dilly Beans! Anyway, we're looking at our garden and making a plan. Last year I also dried up some red peppers and jalapenos and crushed them for our own homemade crushed red pepper spice. YUM! Also hope to plant some fresh dill and basil again and crush for seasonings as well as mint~and don't forget the CATNIP! LOL..your kitty will love you...and one more...stevia is an awesome sweetner~you can grow it and crush it too! woot! Of course, we will do cucumbers, squash, tomatoes, the green beans, peppers, and I'd like to try pumpkins...NOTHING LIKE green pumpkin~oh I know...I digress! LOL...but seriously, figure out what you want to EAT so you can plan and preserve for next year!
Okay, now I know my tomatoes are good~WOOHOO! Sounds like a big pot of homemade speghetti sauce for supper to me!
Be blessed and have a GREAT DAY!